While many daily newspapers are struggling and cutting staff as a result, the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post is growing rapidly.
Washington Post Publisher and CEO Fred Ryan told Politico that the newspaper plans to hire dozens of journalists as it continues to remake itself as the U.S.’ fourth national newspaper. Politico put the figure at around 60 people, which would represent growth of about 8 percent and bring the newsroom to about 750 journalists. That puts it behind only the New York Times and Wall Street Journal in terms of newsroom size. Many of these new hires will focus on breaking news, video and audio podcasts and quick turnaround investigative reporting.
While some say Bezos is revolutionizing the news business, Politico points to the Post doubling down on traditional journalism and investing heavily in new ways to deliver it, through smartphone apps, voice-activated speakers and e-readers. The Post’s digital effort has become the envy of the industry, with as many as 80 software engineers, developers and others working alongside reporters and editors to present the news in real time.
Bezos, also the CEO of Amazon and owner of space company Blue Origin, bought the Post in 2013 for $250 million. Since then the Post has reportedly invested more than $50 million in the organization, mostly on digital and newsroom plans.
According to a memo earlier this month from Ryan to Washington Post staff, the Post is “profitable and growing.” Politico reports that the Post has seen a 75 percent increase in new subscribers since the beginning of the year, and digital revenue has doubled over the last 12 months.
Post executives see a big opportunity for aggressive coverage during the new Trump administration, which could include plenty of high-level leaks, according to Politico. President-elect Donald Trump has frequently criticized the Post and Bezos, once revoking the paper’s credentials to cover his campaign events. He has claimed that Bezos uses the Post to influence politicians and keep Amazon’s tax bill low.
Bezos tends to downplay Trump’s attacks. After Trump called out Bezos in December, for example, Bezos joked on Twitter that he would “reserve him a seat on the Blue Origin rocket,” another venture that the Amazon founder is supporting with his private fortune. But in May Bezos said Trump’s remarks were “not an appropriate way for a presidential candidate to behave.”